Posts Tagged ‘writing tips’

Writing: Unmerited Grace

“At its best, the sensation of writing is that of any unmerited grace. It is handed to you, but only if you look for it. You search, you break your heart, your back, your brain, and then–and only then–it is handed to you.”

— Annie Dillard

More Writing Tips from Writing Sisters 26-30

26. Don’t compare your writing to others.  Be an original.

27. Learn from your rejections and move on.

28. Read selectively.  Garbage in, garbage out.

29. Have a mission statement for your work.

30. Pay attention to names – each one is an opportunity.

We would love to hear your ideas and suggestions.

Laurie and Betsy

Writing With Rejection: Three Steps to Handling Criticism

God the Father, Cima da Conegliano, Circa 1510-17.

God the Father, Cima da Conegliano, Circa 1510-17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The process of writing and publishing includes rejection as part of the process. God uses rejection to help us clarify and refine the vision of our work. This painful experience and how we handle it can determine the course of our life’s work. God is very interested in our work.

When I handle my rejection as a spiritual matter I bring God in to the solution.

Three steps are presented in Andy Stanley’s excellent book Visioneering, using Nehemiah as a model for handling criticism. We go back to these steps in times of rejection and criticism.

1. Pray

“Criticism strikes an emotional chord in us. The emotion must go somewhere. To reflect it back to critics is to play their game. To bottle it up inside can result in depression or ulcers. Another option is to dump it out on someone completely unrelated to the situation: spouse, friends, employees, your children. That only complicates things. The only healthy and profitable thing to do is to pour out your heart to you heavenly Father.”

2. Remember the Source of the Vision

“As long as you respond to criticism by evaluating your potential, you will be tempted to give up. But when you respond by remembering who it is who has called you…it is a different story.”

3. Revise the Plan

“I have never met anyone or heard of anyone who accomplished anything significant for the kingdom who didn’t have to revise plans multiple times before the vision became a reality.”

One final thought from Visioneering:

“When your vision is on the verge of being snuffed out by the criticism of others, your Father is interested. It concerns him. In this way your response to criticism is a spiritual matter. And your heavenly Father is more than willing to get involved in the conflict.”

That is how to handle criticism.

We needed to remember that today. Anyone else?

Laurie and Betsy

What We Have Learned: Writing Tips 21-25

21.  Take a break every 20 minutes.  See the Pomodora Technique.

22. Don’t let anyone “look over your shoulder”.  Put mother and editor out.

23. Be generous.  Fill each page with all that you have to give.

24. Use the weather.

25. Be intentional. Just because you can publish something doesn’t mean that you should.

Love your thoughts and comments.  Especially on Number 25.

What We Have Learned: Writing Tips 16-20

A few more things that we have learned through the years:

16. Detach when you edit.  Hold all loosely.

17. Journal, save the scraps of your life to use in your work.

18. Chunk it.  Keep your daily goals small.

19. Join a critique group – but pick carefully.

20. Be solution focused.  Refuse to stay stuck in problems.

Please add to the list.  We love your comments.

What We Have Learned: Writing Tips 11-15

Some more things that we have learned along the way:

11. Protect your writing time.  No one can do this but you.

12. Don’t let anyone read your drafts.  The vision is yours alone.

13. Walk daily. Read your previous day’s work before you walk.

14. Don’t edit as you write.  Get it down first.

15. Listen.  Make space for quiet times.

Would love to hear your thoughts and ideas,

Laurie and Betsy

Writing Sisters

What We Have Learned: Writing Tips 1-5

Here are some tips that we have learned in our years as writers:

1.  Read, Read. Read.  Writing is, after all, creating reading.

2.  Let it cool. Don’t edit right away.  Time can give you perspective.

3.  Read your work out loud.  Listen for places that are not smooth and natural.

4. Get plenty of sleep.  Rest is a spiritual weapon and keeps you sharp.

5.  Love the reader.  Keep in mind the one who will be reading the work.

Would love to hear your thoughts about writing.  Especially about Writing Tip #4.

Writing Sisters

Time Management: The Secret to Getting Things Done

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system developed by Francesco Cirillo who based his theory on the normal productive work span of a human being and Francesco’s kitchen timer — which was a large red tomato (pomodoro in Italian).

We have used the system this fall as we have collaborated on our books. It has been especially help over the holidays when time is so stretched.  It is so simple:

  • Set the timer for 25 minutes.
  • Work until the bell goes off.
  • Take a five minute break.

Some days I feel like I can’t complete an entire chapter or even a page.  When I think about just writing for the next twenty-five minutes, I can do that.

By breaking down our work into manageable chunks we conserve our energy and are more likely to keep working.

At the end of the day when we’re tired and ready to pack up and one of us will say, “Oh, let’s do one more Pomodoro on the third chapter.” We set the timer and keep going.

There are lots of helpful apps that you can use to manage your time with the Pomodoro Technique but the small tomato timers that we found at World Market appealed to our sense of fun.

That little pop of red beside my computer reminds me that I don’t have to make any decisions about the rest of my life right now.  I only need to decide how I will spend the next twenty-five minutes.

I can do that!

Happy Writing!

Be strong and do the work.

1 Chronicles 28:10

Writing With Vision

Corcovado jesus

Corcovado jesus (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Where there is no vision the people perish.”

— Proverbs 29:18

A children’s book writer shared one of her fan letters with me.  Printed with crayon on bright yellow construction paper it read: “Thank you for writing god books.” We chuckled at the truth in the error, god vs. good. But later it made me think:

What is different between a good book and a God book?

As I grow in my faith and as my writing efforts shift to Christian books I want to know the difference. How do I write as a follower of Jesus?  What does Christ-centered writing look like?   Christ-centered writing begins with God’s idea instead of my idea, but how do I know the difference?

In his book Visioneering, Andy Stanley presents two ways to know the distinction between good ideas and God ideas:

1.  A God-ordained vision will eventually feel like a moral imperative.

Have you ever had the idea for a book that would not let you go? “As the burden in you grows, you will feel compelled to take action.” My ideas wane over time, God’s grow stronger.

2.  A God-ordained vision will be in line with what God is doing in the world.

My ideas serve myself or advance my career.  God’s ideas are part of a bigger plan.  This is not always apparent at first.  “Initially, you may not see a connection.  If not, wait.”

My idea?  Or God’s idea? Will I ever know for sure? Probably not, but I am encouraged that Jesus was big on restoring people’s vision.

Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes.  Immediately they received their sight and followed him.”  Matthew 20:29

May my eyes be opened too.

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